I walked along the road the other morning, head whirling with a load of information and thoughts and a billion other things. Classes to teach, yes--but then, that's not for another hour, and really, it'll be okay. I have material to go over with all of them.
Foot hits gravel, dust flies. With each pound, a question, and a surrender. Why? It doesn't matter, really... Lord, You take it... But why? ...no, it shouldn't matter. Take it from me, Father...
The thought of only three weeks left...less than three weeks now...filled me, and my heart not only sank, but another question surfaced again. Why even bother?
I turned around at ToMahWa's place, and headed back up the dirt road. The same question grew louder, and louder... Why bother?
And then I stopped. Just past my heel, behind me, my eye had caught sight of something strange. I picked it up...and stared in wonder at what lay in my hand.
There is no need to say that amazement washed over me and filled me with a sense of the Lord's voice and presence, louder than ever I had heard it before.
I love you, Child. I am working in you to will and to do of My good pleasure. Cling to that red cord, for it is the only thing that will get you through. Cling to Me... And you will "meet an expected end."
I can't argue with that kind of logic.
That kind of love.
That kind of patience.
I've found heart-shaped rocks before. They were just natural occurences--things that I could see a heart in if I looked at it right. They often were clean, sometimes smooth. Rarely broken. I've given such things as gifts to people before.
My 'gift from heaven' is rough. It's uneven. It's dirty and dusty. It's even broken. I'd almost...almost...be ashamed to offer something like that to someone.
I see myself in that simple stone.
I'm far from perfect. There's pieces missing. I'm broken. I'm really not worth giving to anyone, let alone the King of the Universe.
And yet, I am reminded of what the angel told Mercy in Pilgrim's Progress: "This is not how God the Father doth see thee."
"Chief of sinners though I be..."
Yes, He loves me. Oh, so much.
And even though I'm not perfect, He's promised to make me beautiful in His time. Perfect in His time. Worth it...in His time.
And this place, this land, these people, have helped me grow so much. So much closer to that "expected end" the Lord wants to bring me to. I owe so much to Thailand, to the Karen, to Sunshine Orchards, to my students.
...I get to repay all they've done for me by going home.
It's getting overwhelming to think of leaving. Just last Friday, Tee Nee Too asked me what I was doing on Sunday.
"I go to Mae Sot."
"Mae Sot, Teacher? Why?"
"Uhm...passport. You know?"
"I have to go to Burma and come back, or I get in very much trouble."
"Yes. You come back?" He motioned to the school.
"Yes, I go, come back"--and then added, a little sadly--"and then in three weeks I go home."
Blank expression, then light of understanding. "Home? You go America?"
Tee Nee Too makes a face, very like a grimace. "Ugh, Teacher!"
My 7th graders did the AY program on Sabbath. For one of their special musics, they sang "Did You Ever Talk to God?" I've been teaching it to them for a couple of weeks. They did so wonderfully, I couldn't contain myself when they were finished.
Maw Shwe Way
Shaw Nay Moo, aka second class terrorist
Saw Pa Noe, otherwise known as class brain and teacher's pet
Tee Nay Too, also referred to as my main antagonist
All my seventh graders
Eh K'luh Too
Maw Jo Nigh and Saw Day Day, both class clowns
After the program, Tee Nee Too asked me, "Teacher, good? You like?"
"Yes, I like very much. You did a good job!" A big smile crossed my face.
And then, as he walked away... "You're welcome."
The smile turned into a laugh. Where'd he pick that up? Probably from the same place that taught him how to say he was "going bananas."
After AY a bunch of my kids wanted pictures with me... And even though it was dark and I was already late to be at something else, I couldn't say no.
Nala Moo on the left, Maw Shwe Way on the right
Maw Jo Nigh and Maw Shwe Way
Tha Tha Aye, Shaw Nay Moo, Eh Do Moo, and Maw Jo Nigh
Maw Jo Nigh and Shaw Nay Moo
Oh, these boys...
My seventh grade girls are so opposite to my seventh grade boys... sweet girls.
Tha Tha Aye
These are only a few of the precious faces I've come to know and love since being here. It's hard to imagine life without Tee Nee Too's teasing, Saw Pa Noe's calm perfectionism, Saw Eh Soe's explosive hillarity, Mu Wa Wa's incessant laughter, Maw Soe Thay's naughtiness.
Soon, it won't be imagination, however. It'll be reality.
Last night, a bunch of boys came up to the house for medicine and other assistance. A couple of my boys were here, and one of them suddenly asked me something about leaving. I had to tell them that yes, less than three weeks, and I will go.
"Home to America?" Shaw Nay Moo motioned over his shoulder with a look of consternation.
Maw Soe Thay, enthroned in our chair, asked, "Teacher, when you come back?"
I shook my head. "I do not know if I ever come back."
Shaw Nay Moo's look of consternation turned to open shock. "You not come back?"
I shrugged, shook my head. "I do not know."
Shaw Nay Moo's face fell and in the next instant, he covered his face with his hands. "Oh, Teacher, I cry!"
He was kidding. But the point remains.
Maw Soe Thay asked, "Why you no come back?"
Anna clarified that I want to come back, but had no money.
"Ohh." Maw Soe Thay nodded. "Teacher, you go America, you work very hard."
I laughed. "Work and get money so I can come back?"
Maw Soe Thay grinned. "Yes Teacher!"
"You want me to come back?" I ventured teasingly.
Embarassed grin, no explanation. Of course.
"You want me to come back so I can take away your book more?" I asked with a playful glare.
He still grinned.
Sharon came onto the porch. "Maw Soe Thay, do you need medicine?"
"No Teacher," he replied, still grinning.
"Yes, he needs medicine to make him stop being naughty," I countered, and we all laughed.
That question rings in everything. Will I be back? Will I come back?
Will I be back?
I want to be. I want to be.
But what God wills...and when...and where... is always best.
If I am to come back, He'll see to it that I do.
And He will see to it that everything is made beautiful... in His time.
Little girls come for a visit
Smiling faces... how many more times will I see them?
Try to resist that...
Made entirely out of banana leaves... glasses. These kids amaze me.
He really is the princiPAL.
Oh, how I'll miss these girls when I go home....
Entrance to a church just out of Mae Sot. Went there for a wedding on Sunday morning.
Seeing that bride up there made me envision something similar happening someday.... But I guarantee that the bride that day will not have her head down like that. Not a chance.
One of Sharon's students
Me and KuSuhMo
Sharon and little friends
Caught me going for a walk... "Teacher! Teacher!"